Working with clients, I encounter a certain issue over and over again. When times are good for a company; marketing and communication seem to be put on the back-burner. When we approach them about our Search Engine Optimization services (being ranked higher in the major search engines) they look at us like we are crazy and typically elect not to market their site/business online. It has always baffled me that people are willing to spends thousands of dollars on a shiny new website, but hesitate to put a percentage of that money into driving additional traffic to it.
When times are tough, these companies start approaching us about our services once they realize that their competition is kicking their butt in placement on Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Since the client doesn’t have as much business as they used to, they look to us to get them ranked organically. The problem is that they want to be ranked #1 in the organic listings the next day.
Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, or Online marketing; no matter what you call it, takes time. Marketing also costs money. One would think that when times are good, companies would put more money into marketing thus more likely managing to avoid the downturns all together. After all, is there really such a thing as too much business?
A great example of this persistent problem that I see often has to do with a family member of mine. Their business is Sport Fishing in Alaska with Black Rock Charters. Three years ago when we first put up the website I asked if they wanted to do Search Engine Marketing. They elected to put minimal effort/funds into marketing (which is more than most busy companies), simply because at the time they had more business then they could manage. In fact times were so good they added two additional boats to their fleet. For two years the boats were full 80-90% for the entire season. Then came 2008 and the boats were only full 70% of the time and now looking forward to Spring/Summer 2009 the boats are well below average bookings for this time of year.
Of course, the owner/family comes to me and is ready to work on their Online Marketing strategy, which is wonderful but a little late. If I had started 3 years ago, Organic Online Marketing would have had more than enough time to get grounded and the rankings would be here. Now we have to work twice as hard in a shorter period of time in order to get similar results.
What I hope is that others take this story into consideration when budgeting for marketing. Business always runs in a cycle, up one day, week, or year and down the next. Marketing allows you to make the highs higher, and the lows easier to endure. If you plan for the future, by establishing a budget for online marketing today you will be one step closer to business success.